Author Archives: jackjasondavis

Rotorua canopy tour

New Zealand is a land of nature adventures — we had already glimpsed this during our hike to the waterfall, and Karl’s and my trek through the volcanoes, and on Friday we continued with a ziplining tour of one of the regions virgin forests. Because the little kids were too small for the harnesses, we […]

Maori evening

Friday night, after ziplining, we went out to a nearby Maori cultural center to have dinner and learn more about the Maori traditions. We were led down a small ravine to the banks of a crystal-clear stream that flowed from a nearby freshwater spring. The Maori men rowed up the river in a traditional boat […]

Tongariro Alpine Crossing (or tramping past Mount Doom)

Aside from hanging out with the Hettingers and Kallmeyers, my only agenda item for New Zealand was to go “tramping” (as the locals call hiking) through the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Touted as one of the best day hikes in New Zealand, the 12-mile trail takes you through a nest of volcanic cones — including the […]

Okere Falls hike

What to do on New Year’s Day in Rotorua? Nature walks! We took our time getting up in the morning, enjoying the leisurely pace of holiday life (and in some cases recovering from jet lag). We had no concrete plans, but the weather was sunny and warm, and we saw no reason to stay indoors […]

Playing house in Rotorua

After polishing off our ginger beers at Hobbiton and leaving the bucolic hobbit holes to their New Zealand evening, we all piled into the cars (me into my compact Toyota; everyone else into the giant people-mover) and drove to Rotorua, where we would be staying for the rest of the week. Rotorua is a smallish […]

Hobbits!

New Zealand was the Middle Earth of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies, and Hobbiton is one of the Things To See when you’re here. On top of that, it was also my rendez-vous point to meet up with Heather and Taryn, two friends of mine from high school, and their spouses and, in […]

Hamilton Gardens

Legend has it that everything south and inland of Auckland is just not that cool. A lot of ranch land and unremarkable small towns. Most of that proved true on the drive from Auckland to Hamilton, but there’s a gem of a garden on the outskirts of Hamilton that was a complete delight. Built on […]